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Workout Smarter Not Longer

With summer fast approaching many of us are kicking our excercise routines a notch. This winter I wrote an article on the best supplements to help you reach your goals and hopefully you follow a real food diet free of processed fake foods. But you need to excercise, it’ll help you live longer and happier.

But who can find time for a 60-minute sweat session 6 days a week? The good news is you don’t have to. You really can work out for 20 minutes a day for 4-5 days a week and burn fat.  You can get a great workout without any equipment, especially if you’re a beginner. If you feel like you need more of a challenge, invest in a few key pieces that will give you as good of a workout as any expensive gym equipment. You’ll be all set with just these few items: stop watch, jump rope, pull up bar and a kettle bell heavy enough to be challenging for 75 swings.

A good fitness regimen has two components: High Intensity Training and Strength Training.

High Intensity Training offers more health benefits than traditional cardio, which requires a longer time commitment. A popular example is Tabata training, which consists of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest repeated 8 times for a total of 8 minutes. Not only will this raise your heart rate, it will also raise your metabolism throughout the workout as well as afterwards. As the name implies these are performed at a very high intensity so be sure to choose exercises that you can maintain. Great choices to include in your workout are burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, jump rope, jump squats, box jumps and jumping lunges and best of all sprints. This is a great article on why everyone should sprint. As much as I hate running.

Strength Training is the best tool to boost metabolism, increase lean muscle mass and burn more fat, even at rest. Hours on the treadmill will never get you the same results.  Gaining one pound of muscle will burn an extra 50 calories a day at rest. The more muscle tone you have the easier it will be to take control of your weight in the long run. I’m a huge fan of lifting heavy things, doing squats, deadlifts, bench presses etc. That comes from being a level 1 Poliquin Stretch Coach while working at one of the best personal training facilities what is unbelievably almost 8 years ago. I hadn’t done much of it myself since Annabelle was born but my body was craving it and I finally got back into it in January and have been working with an awesome coach, Dane Wilson, over at GSX Crossfit in Fort Worth. If you can’t get to a gym to lift heavy weights then you should include push-ups, squats, planks, wall sits, supermans as well as pull ups and kettle bell swings if you have the equipment.

Aim for 2 days of High Intensity Training and 2 – 3 days of strength training. Here is a sample week to get you started:

Day 1, High Intensity: 20 seconds mountain climbers, 10 seconds rest, 20 seconds jumping jacks, 10 seconds rest. Repeat 4 times. 20 seconds burpees, 10 seconds rest, repeat 8 times.

Day 2, Strength: 75-100 kettle bell swings without stopping.

Day 3, High Intensity: 20 seconds jumping jacks, 10 seconds rest, 20 seconds jump squats, 10 seconds rest, repeat 4 times. 20 seconds jumping lunges, 10 seconds rest, 20 seconds jump rope, 10 seconds rest, repeat 4 times.

Day 4, Strength: 8-12 pushups, 8-12 squats (with a kettle bell if you have one), 1 minute rest. Repeat 5 times. 30-60 second planks, 15-30 second wall sit, 1 minute rest. Repeat 5 times.

Make sure you get adequate rest during the week and start every workout with a warm-up and end with 5 -10 minutes of stretching.

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